June 17, 2022
4 min. read

5 Things to Expect from Your Laser Eye Surgery Appointment


Good to Know:

  • Before your eye surgery, your eye doctor will perform an eye exam.
  • If you’re a good candidate for a LASIK procedure, your eye doctor will show you how to practice good eye care before and after the surgery.
  • Your full recovery period may take some time, but most people can return to normal activities soon after laser eye surgery and are satisfied with their results.


75% of Americans require some type of vision correction, whether that’s glasses or contact lenses. Another option is laser eye surgery, the most common of which is the LASIK procedure. Nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism are types of vision problems that can be corrected with LASIK eye surgery. 

Your cornea bends light onto your retina at the back of your eye. Vision problems occur when the light bends incorrectly, which causes your vision to become blurry. Laser eye surgery changes the shape of your cornea to improve your vision.

Did You Know? LASIK is an acronym for “Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis.”

 Whether you’re considering laser vision correction or you’ve already scheduled your appointment, here’s what you need to know.

If you wear contact lenses, you’ll need to switch to glasses.

Contact lenses can change the shape of your cornea, which your doctor will need to measure before your LASIK procedure. Depending on the type of contact lenses you wear, as well as how long you’ve worn them, your eye doctor will tell you how long before the surgery you’ll need to wear your glasses.

Quick Statistics: Roughly 50% of the American population wears glasses, and up to 14% wear contact lenses.

Before laser eye surgery, your eye doctor will perform an eye exam.

During your eye exam, your eye doctor will test your vision. They will measure the size, thickness, and shape of your cornea, as well as your pupil size. If your pupils are larger, you may see halos or bright lights at night after a LASIK procedure. 

Your eye doctor will also check for any eye disease that might lead to complications after laser vision correction, such as glaucoma or cataracts. Make sure you share your health history with your provider, including your family history.

Did You Know?: 20/20 vision is not “perfect” vision, but vision that eye doctors consider healthy and normal.

Also, during your eye exam,  let your provider know if you suffer from dry eyes. Dry eye syndrome is a common side effect of LASIK eye surgery, and undergoing the procedure might make your dry eyes worse.

Don’t wash your face the night before your LASIK procedure.

In fact, you’ll want to avoid any creams, lotions, perfumes, or eye makeup the day before or the day of your LASIK eye surgery. Your eye doctor may give you further instructions for eye care before the procedure, such as cleaning your eyelashes leading up to the surgery.

Quick Tip: Make sure you arrange for a ride to and from your appointment. Your vision might still be blurry after the procedure.

You’re awake during a LASIK procedure, but you won’t feel any pain.

During your laser eye surgery, you may be given medicine to help you relax. Then, your eye surgeon will put numbing drops into your eyes. They will clean the area around your eyes, then use a device called a lid speculum to keep your eyelids open. They’ll place a suction ring on your eye. Your vision may dim or go black, but this is normal.

Then, your eye surgeon will make a cut in the corneal flap to expose your cornea. You’ll stare at a target light (which is not the laser itself) to help your eyes stay still. Then, using the laser, your eye surgeon will change the shape of your cornea. You might hear a clicking sound.

After the procedure, your eye surgeon will lower the flap on your cornea, where it’ll reattach itself after a few minutes. The procedure usually takes about half an hour.

Quick Statistics: Roughly 9 out of 10 people end up with 20/20 or 20/40 vision after LASIK eye surgery without wearing glasses or contact lenses.

After your procedure, your eye doctor will tell you how to practice eye care.

The recovery period from laser eye surgery is relatively brief, but there are some activities you may need to avoid for a period of time. For example, it’s recommended that you avoid playing contact sports for 4 weeks after the surgery, and avoid eye makeup for roughly 4 weeks as well.

Your surgeon will give you an eye shield to wear at night. This is to keep you from accidentally rubbing or putting pressure on your eyes while you sleep. You’ll also be given eye drops to ease any dryness or discomfort. Make sure to use the eye drops your eye doctor gives you and not over-the-counter options.

A couple of days after your surgery, you’ll have a follow-up appointment with your doctor to make sure your eyes are healing properly. According to the FDA, most people will have some level of vision fluctuations after surgery. These usually go away in a few months.

Is LASIK eye surgery for me?

Laser vision correction isn’t for everyone. Some health conditions might make LASIK eye surgery more complicated, and some vision problems are better corrected with other treatment methods. If you’re considering laser eye surgery, talk with your eye doctor about your health history, as well as your goals after the surgery. If LASIK eye surgery isn’t the right option for you, your eye doctor will work with you to find what will work best.


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